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German Nutrient Database: Bundeslebensmittelschlüssel

Provision of the national nutrient database, in particular as a data basis for determining energy and nutrient intakes from food consumption surveys

The German Nutrient Database (BLS) as a national nutrient database is a standard tool that is used in many areas of research, the food industry and nutritional counselling. In research, the nutrient data of the BLS are used, among other things, for the evaluation of food consumption studies in order to calculate the nutrient intake from food consumption for the general population in Germany or for specific population groups. Companies and associations in the food industry can use the BLS data in order to calculate the mandatory nutrition labelling in accordance with the requirements of the Food Information Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011. The BLS also serves as a data basis for nutritional counselling. Due to its diverse use and outreach, the BLS is a crucial database for nutrition and health policy measures.

The BLS is continuously updated and developed further on several levels:

  • at the content level in terms of food selection and quality of nutrient data,
  • at the organisational level through the development of standards and guidelines for data processing as well as quality testing and coding,
  • at a technical level, through developments in software and database technology and the expansion of data networks.

The selection of foods to be updated is based on frequently consumed foods from the German National Nutrition Survey (NVS) II and the National Nutrition Monitoring, as well as on market and product research.

The nutrient contents of foods recorded in the BLS are obtained either by laboratory analysis or on the basis of literature research. This is the result of a quality-assured process according to defined and internationally harmonised procedures. Based on this database, the nutrient data of many other BLS foods are calculated using standardised and internationally recognised procedures that, among other things, take changes in weight and nutrient content during preparation into account. The BLS database structure also enables networking with other food-related databases.

For the BLS there is a close cooperation with all institutes of the MRI. Furthermore, the BLS cooperates with university research groups and with non-university research institutions. Also, various collaborations and exchange of experience take place with other research institutions of the federal states and the federal government. In addition, the BLS is in professional exchange with companies and associations of the food industry as well as with private analytical laboratories. Internationally, the BLS is a member of the "European Food Information Resource Network" (EuroFIR) and cooperates intensively with the EuroFIR working groups.

Further information on the BLS: www.blsdb.de